Nov 21, 2008
Light steel frame building an attractive construction alternativeBack
© Reuse this
The South African Light Steel Frame Building Asso- ciation (Sasfa) a division of the Southern African Institute of Steel Construction (SAISC), reports that light frame steel building (LSFB) is a construction method that has become fully integrated into the local construction industry over the past two years.
Sasfa director John Barnard says that the ability of the South African construction industry to master the skills of LSFB, combined with the growing understanding of the overall cost and energy savings of the technique, has contributed to the success of the practice.
Barnard adds that if the growth of an industry’s association is any reflection of the overall interest in the industry itself, then the 36% growth in Sasfa membership in 2008 is a sure indication of the general belief and faith in the direction the LSFB industry is taking and contractors’ desire to participate in it.
Another important indication of the growing popularity of the LSFB business is the overwhelming interest in Sasfa’s website, which is receiving some 500 unique visitors and more than 800 visits each month, says Barnard.
He comments that the association regularly receives enquiries about the building methodology, which has, in a short space of time, become an acceptable building alternative for low-rise buildings in South Africa.
Barnard reports that one of the notable factors in the success of the LSFB industry is its acceptance by the relevant municipalities and authorities. Sasfa has worked closely with the National Home Builders Registration Council, which accepts LSFB projects through the ‘rational design’ route of compliance with the building regulations. “More importantly, leading banks are issuing bonds on an increasing basis for projects using the method. In this regard, each project is thoroughly evaluated before the bond is issued and so far there have been very few problems,” he adds.
Apart from the rapid growth in Sasfa membership, the number of companies that manufacture light steel frame sections has grown by 65% during the past year, bringing the profiling capacity of the industry up to 39 000 t of steel a year, resulting in 55% growth a year.
Expressed in terms of building areas, Barnard reports that the yearly capacity of light steel frame roof truss manufacturers is now 1,8-million square metres, while the yearly capacity of full system manufacturers, including walls, floors and roof trusses is in excess of 1,6-million square metres.
“The association is proud to say that 84% of this capacity belongs to Sasfa members, illustrating the cohesive support the association enjoys from industry,” comments Barnard.
One of the reasons for the rapid growth of the LSFB technology in South Africa is its sustainability.
Barnard says that LSFB buildings appear no different to conventional buildings. It is a more cost-effective building method, with financial savings possible, mainly, from significant time savings in project completion, less rework and considerably reduced logistical costs. In addition, LSFB is more energy efficient than heavy construction methods, with regard to the energy consumed in the production and transportation of the materials and the energy relating to the heating and cooling of the building over its design life.
“These savings offer significant advantages, especially now with high-energy costs and pressure on electricity generation capacity,” says Barnard.
Education and Training
Education and training is also a contributing factor in the success of the LSFB industry and Sasfa has played a significant role in this process. “The association recognised from the outset that it was dealing with a new paradigm in the construction industry in South Africa, and that an education programme would be essential,” says Barnard.
The first part of the education programme was to prepare trainers. Barnard says the association realised that it needed to get as many experts as possible out into the field as quickly as possible. Instead of sending people overseas at great expense, it asked an experienced Australian trainer, Lex Somerville, to South Africa.
The programme was successful, with 13 trainers receiving up-to-date instruction and ‘spreading the word’ throughout the country. The erection and cladding course is currently being offered by Tjeka Training on a regular basis.
Another crucial aspect to the education programme was to familiarise the industry with the new Sasfa building code. The codes were published after extensive investigation and consultation by Sasfa towards the end of 2007.
“Understanding the nuts and bolts of the business was essential to the growth of the industry as a whole; to this end a number of training programmes were held throughout the country with an overwhelming response from the industry,” says Barnard.
Somerville, together with Barnard, SAISC executive chairperson Dr Hennie de Clercq, and others, was contracted to present the Sasfa code training course.
These seminars had a fourfold purpose. This included the enhancement of the general understanding of the LSFB industry, to establish a familiarity with the Sasfa code, to clear up uncertainties that the market may have had about the building method, and to enhance the quality of design and construction of LSFBs in South Africa.
In addition, Barnard says that Sasfa is planning further training courses which are aimed at building inspectors. This training course will be introduced when the code is formally ratified by the South African Bureau of Standards, and published as the South African National Standards 517.
Edited by: Laura Tyrer© Reuse this Comment Guidelines (150 word limit)
Other Construction News
Updated 3 hours ago The Century City conference centre, part of a new, green, R1-billion mixed-use development under construction in Cape Town, is on track to open in February 2016, with the first bookings already confirmed. Century City Conference Centre & Hotel joint CEOs Glyn Taylor...
Updated 3 hours ago JSE-listed Aveng independent nonexecutive director Mahomed Seedat has been named as successor to outgoing chairperson Angus William Band, who will retire at the end of June. In an announcement to shareholders on Wednesday, Aveng said Seedat would assume the role of...
Updated 7 hours ago A new tool that provides municipalities with a prewritten tender and contract, which can easily be adapted to suit the specific needs and circumstances of a particular region, is now available and is expected to help municipalities curb water losses. The Model...
Updated 2 hours 59 minutes ago State-owned power utility Eskom and Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown confirmed on Wednesday that contracts under the so-called short-term power purchase programme (STPPP) had been renewed ahead of the March 31, 2015, expiry date. Eskom told Engineering News...
Updated 3 hours ago The value of copper stolen in February decreased to R12.7-million, from R12.9-million in January, but was 18.1% higher than the value of copper stolen in February 2014, the South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Sacci) revealed on Wednesday. In its latest...
Updated 3 hours ago Paper and packaging group Mpact has concluded a broad-based black-economic empowerment (BBBEE) deal that will see a purpose-formed trust subscribing for 10% of the ordinary issued shares in group subsidiary Mpact Operations, which holds its South African businesses....
Recent Research Reports
Steel 2015: A review of South Africa's steel sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Steel 2015 report provides an overview of the key developments in the global steel industry and particularly of South Africa’s steel sector over the past year, including details of production and consumption, as well as the country's primary carbon...
Projects in Progress 2015 - First Edition (PDF Report)
In fact, this edition of Creamer Media’s Projects in Progress 2015 supplement tracks developments taking place under the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme, which has had four bidding rounds. It appears to remain a shining light on the...
Electricity 2015: A review of South Africa's electricity sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Electricity 2015 report provides an overview of State-owned power utility Eskom and independent power producers, as well as electricity planning, transmission, distribution and the theft thereof, besides other issues.
Construction 2015: A review of South Africa’s construction sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Construction 2015 Report examines South Africa’s construction industry over the past 12 months. The report provides insight into the business environment; the key participants in the sector; local construction demand; geographic diversification;...
Liquid Fuels 2014 - A review of South Africa's Liquid Fuels sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Liquid Fuels 2014 Report examines these issues, focusing on the business environment, oil and gas exploration, the country’s feedstock supplies, the development of South Africa’s biofuels industry, fuel pricing, competition in the sector, the...
Water 2014: A review of South Africa's water sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Water 2014 report considers the aforementioned issues, not only in the South African context, but also in the African and global context, and examines the issues of water and sanitation, water quality and the demand for water, among others.
This Week's Magazine
Projected capital expenditure (capex) in the South African automotive assembly industry should reach a record R7.48-billion this year, says the National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of South Africa (Naamsa) in its 2014 fourth quarter business review. Capex...
After several years of navigating project-threatening red tape and currency fluctuations, the 4.4 MW Bronkhorstspruit biogas power plant, which will supply clean energy to a leading automotive manufacturer in Gauteng, is expected to enter production before June....
South African paper and pulp producer Sappi reported earlier this month that it would build a pilot plant for the production of low-cost Cellulose NanoFibrils, or CNF (nanocellulose) at the Brightlands Chemelot Campus in Sittard-Geleen in the Netherlands.
The long-term outlook for Nigeria is a country that has the potential to be very strong. So affirmed International Monetary Fund (IMF) Nigeria Mission Chief and Senior Resident Representative Dr Gene Leon on recently. "But we are starting from a point of huge...
Poor infrastructure planning and inadequate maintenance are becoming increasingly problematic for new developments and the associated infrastructure required to support such developments. In many urban and rural municipalities, the state of infrastructure has been...